Thursday, February 15, 2007

Fabric shopping in Paris

I headed left down the hill from Sacre-Coeur into the fabric district. Metro Anvers is the closest, but I got off at Abbesses and strolled through Montmartre. But where to start?? I headed for Marché St Pierre first of all – five floors of fabric!!!

Marché St Pierre, 2 rue Charles Nodier
Open 10am – 6.30pm Monday to Saturday. Closed every Monday in August

Check out interior photos on their website.The fabrics are laid out in rolls on large tables, while shop assistants circulate with wooden metre sticks at the ready to measure and cut at your request. Signs on the wall state that the minimum length you can ask for is 0.5m and they may refuse to cut your requested length if there is less than 3m left on the roll. Once your fabric has been cut, they will write you a ticket detailing the price. You have to pay on each floor before moving to the next, just present your tickets at the till (“la caisse”) and hand over your cash.

The ground and first floors were most suited to those who like garment sewing, with a variety of silks, wools, linen, cotton and jersey. Fabrics ranged in price from the bargainous 2 euros/m to an eye-watering 80 euros/m. There was a good selection of quilting cottons – but at 7 euros/m they were probably a similar price to the UK and expensive for US shoppers. The clientele seemed a real mix – from fashion students hunting out the perfect fabric for their design to Parisian women shopping for home décor fabrics.

And so across the street to Tissus Reine………………

Tissus Reine
Open Monday 2pm – 6.30pm; Tuesday to Friday 9.30am-6.30pm, Saturdays 9.30 – 6.45pm.

Again this is a large store spread out over a number of floors - the ground and first floors are most suited to garment sewers, with furnishing fabric on the second and curtains on the third floors. The first floor also has a large section for notions and patterns – there’s a huge variety of buttons and trimmings. Lots of pattern books laid out for you to browse; New Look, Simplicity, Neue Mode, Burda to name but a few.

Slightly creepy doll-sized mannequins, dressed in outfits made from the fabrics on display, overlook each of the fabric tables (think Chucky in couture!). Again, you just have a grab an assistant with a metre stick to cut your desired length of the roll. The table of Liberty fabrics was getting a lot of attention – I’ve heard this is the cheapest place in Paris to buy Liberty but don’t know how the prices compare with UK/US prices. There were also some beautiful wools and silks, with prices very similar to Marché St Pierre.

I also wandered down Rue d’Orsel to Moline.
Open Monday 1.30pm – 6.30pm Tuesday to Saturday 9.45am – 7pm

Go to their site and click on “Visite Virtuelle du Magasin” for pics of the interior

Moline has a number of shops along the one street – many of them seemed to have furnishing fabric but there was also one branch selling yarn, quilting fabrics and notions.

There are some smaller/cheaper fabric stores dotted around which you just may stumble on if you have the time to wander the streets. And don’t ignore the remnants stores – look for the word “coupons” in the window. I spent ages browsing in “Sacrés Coupons” (4 Rue d’Orsel). Individual roll-ends are displayed folded on tables (varying from “orderly” to “rummage sale” depending on the time of day!) Each individual piece has a label in the corner listing the length and the total price. Pieces ranged from 1.5m – 4m in size and they had a good selection of wools, silks, cord and cotton. Many of the fabrics were those sold on the roll in Marche St Pierre and Tissus Reine so if you are after a small-ish piece and willing to rummage, this might be a cheaper option.

Given the huge amount of choice, I didn’t buy a lot! I bought some brown lace-edged dotty fabric for 11 euros from Sacrés Coupons – it feels very good quality and there's enough for a blouse! I also bought several metres of batik in two different designs for summer dresses at 2 euros 30/m from Marché St Pierre– super bargain! However I do plan to go back in a few months……………..


  1. Archived comment thread6:43 PM, February 01, 2010

    OOOH! I would love to be there right now. Beautiful lace trimmed fabric.
    Kelly | 02.15.07 - 6:52 pm
    Thanks Helen, for this beautifully detailed and personally researched review of your (fabric)shopping spree and the shops involved. I certainly will print it out for future reference.
    Karina | 02.16.07 - 9:07 am
    Okay now how do I get there? Do I need to speak French to buy? Is there a hotel within walking distance, cause I don't want to see any sites I just want to fabric shop! Thanks Helen for sharing your trip with us...I am pea green with I really need to see about a passport! *LOL*
    cmarie12 | 03.10.07 - 3:50 pm
    im going to have a trip to paris next week 6th may and im looking for french lace for my wedding gown. Do u know where can i buy beautiful lace in paris? thank you!
    yeat yee | 04.30.08 - 11:54 am
    I can't thank you enough for your tips on fabric shopping in Paris! Thanks to you I was able to locate a couple of stores in Montmartre and picked up some fabric
    Angela | 07.21.08 - 9:32 am
    Hi, I am at Cite Universitaire. I would be very grateful if you could describe the route to take to get to these material shops. Thank You
    Torika Taoi | 11.08.08 - 11:48 pm
    thanks helen for tips any going to paris in June, would like something that has a parisian retro look do you think i would find any fabric like this here? TKU R
    ronda baxter | 02.06.09 - 11:33 am
    Its been a long time since I visited Paris so I can't say for sure what stock these shops have now. I would say they are a good place to start!
    Helen | 02.11.09 - 11:27 pm
    In May, I am making my first trip to Paris. I will be staying in the 18th Arr. for 13 days and definitely want to get to the fabric district. I'm looking for upholstery fabric for stools and dining chair seats. Being an Interior designer in America, is it worth my effort to search the fabric district, in particular Marche Pierre or Tissus Reime? Or will I get just as good a deal here in the states? Will this fabric have to be declared for duty charges on my return?
    Sharon | 03.05.09 - 3:55 pm
    Hi Sharon,
    It's hard for me to compare France and the US as I am in the UK. Also as I was taking a small amount of fabric within the EU, I don't know what the US customs regulations will be.
    Helen | 03.06.09 - 12:22 am
    Thanks for this Am off to Paris in a week and had hoped to get a look at the fabric district. This is really helpful. Thank you
    Clodagh | 05.16.09 - 6:41 am
    You have brought back such precious memories. I have good bumps. I have to go fondle the fabric I bought so many years ago and still have not used up. I have used some though! Lovely blog.
    Willa | 09.06.09 - 11:24 pm
    Am trvling to Paris in Oct. and want to purchase fabric for home furnishings thx for the tips on stores in Montmartre. Can you suggest other towns in Provence for good fabric deals? Maybe markets?? Thx look forward to your reply
    Patty | 09.29.09 - 5:04 pm

  2. Archived comment thread6:44 PM, February 01, 2010

    Regarding your comment about quilting fabric being pricey at 7 euros per meter at Marche St Pierre:
    I am an American currently living in Cote d'Azur and the absolute lowest price I have found on any French cotton is 10 euro per meter. Needless to say I am very excited to do some shopping in Paris where it seems that supply, demand, and healthy competition is keeping the prices a bit more reasonable.
    But you are right that if an American can get the same fabric in the States they will probably get a better deal buying at home.
    Emily | 11.27.09 - 11:06 am
    I purchased some lovely toile fabric from Marche St. Pierre when I was in Paris last September. I need some more yardage, do you know how I could get in contact with them?
    Tarnia Thierens | 12.29.09 - 10:05 pm

  3. Americans don't need to go to Paris to buy all this. They have the Garment Distric in New York City. It's fabulous, good prices and merchandise from all over the world right at their feet. Besides the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons School of Design are right there. Whatever you can and cannot imagine you have there! Believe me. I studied fashion at FIT.

  4. Thank you for your comment Anonymous. NYC's garment district is a fabulous place. But as a Brit, I can't get there very often, while Paris is just an hour away.

  5. Helen: Thanks for your comments. I'll be in Paris next week (from California) and am looking forward to checking out some of your recommendations. I don't get to NYC much either...

  6. Thanks Helen! I'm off to go to Paris tonight and as every sewaholic would do, the first thing I searched on the net was where to buy fabrics! As if I ran out of them back at home! :P

  7. Updated link for Moline Mercerie -
    I am headed to these shops tomorrow. Thanks!

  8. Hello, can anyone tell me where in Paris will I find French chiffon and French Chantelle lace